We know kissing as a social pleasantry, the appropriate ending for a date, and a means of connecting with our main squeeze.
The collision of lips and tongues that we often take for granted has a lot more perks than we think as there are actually beneficial reasons to kiss.
Swine flu scares and mono aside, kissing actually benefits the body and gives you lots of mental and physical benefits.
Here are 5 reasons to kiss and why kissing is healthy for you.
1. Kissing boosts immunity.
A study reported in the journal Medical Hypotheses says kissing may increase a woman’s immunity from Cytomegalovirus. Cytomegalovirus, which is contracted through mouth-to-mouth contact, can cause infant blindness and other birth defects if the mother is a carrier during pregnancy. Otherwise, the bug is relatively harmless in adults.
Is kissing every day healthy? Kissing has long been thought to be a way to pass along bugs and thus strengthen the body’s defenses, so therefore it can be healthy to kiss every day.
2. Kissing helps you pick the best mate.
Anthropologist Helen Fisher describes kissing as a “mate assessment tool.” Much of the cortex is devoted to picking up sensations from around the lips, cheeks, tongue, and nose. Out of 12 cranial nerves, five of them are picking up the data from around the mouth.
The mouth is built to pick up the most sensitive feelings — the most intricate tastes and smells and touch and temperature.
Why is kissing important in a relationship? When you’re kissing somebody, you can really hear them and see them and feel them. So kissing is not just kissing. It is a profound advertisement of who you are, what you want, and what you can give. Therefore kissing can benefit your relationship as it can bring you and your partner closer together if you have a strong kissing connection.
Other researchers note that kissing is biology’s way of determining who in nature you are most genetically compatible with.
“At the moment of the kiss, there are hard-wired mechanisms that assess health, reproductive status, and genetic compatibility,” says Gordon G. Gallup Jr., a professor of evolutionary psychology at the State University of New York at Albany. “Therefore, what happens during that first kiss can be a make-or-break proposition.
3. Kissing burns calories.
Depending on different reports, anywhere from 2 to 26 calories per minute. Not quite a jog on the treadmill, but an hour’s worth of smooching may burn off half a handful of M&Ms or half a glass of wine. Hey, it’s something and one of the coolest reasons why kissing is healthy for you.
4. Kissing keeps facial muscles strong.
Sure tight abs or cellulite-free thighs may be first on the Tone Up list, but don’t underestimate the workout your mouth gets during a makeout session. Researchers say you use 30 muscles while kissing and the smooching helps keep your cheeks tight. Nice. We’ll take what we can get.
5. Kissing naturally relaxes you.
Scientific reports say kissing increases the levels of oxytocin, the body’s natural calming chemical, and increases endorphins, the body’s feel-good hormones. Swapping spit is also noted to increase dopamine, which aids in feelings of romantic relationships and attachment.
6. Kissing can make you feel arousal.
Kissing is one of the best ways to build up arousal leading to sex. When you’re kissing, all the chemical changes that are going inside your brain help activate a reward system as well that make having sex a very stimulating and exciting experience because of kissing.
7. Kissing is a form of a high.
According to anthropologist Helen Fischer, there are multiple reasons for kissing, including attachment, which involves bonding chemicals like oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin. Kissing creates a similar feeling in your brain comparable to taking drugs like heroin and cocaine, which give you a high that makes you feel really good.
8. Kissing can help women achieve an orgasm.
According to a 2018 study on orgasms, women are more likely to experience one if there is “deep kissing” involved and if they were orally stimulated through kissing as well.
9. Kissing can build up your self-esteem.
Kissing has the power to lower your cortisol, or your stress hormones, levels,
which can potentially improve feelings of self-worth according to a 2016 study.
In the study, researchers found that people who were didn’t like their physical appearance had higher cortisol levels. Therefore, in order to love yourself more, you would have to have low cortisol levels in your body.
10. Kissing reduces anxiety.
Besides reducing stress, making you feel more relaxed, and giving you a high, kissing can also help decrease your level of anxiety. Oxytocin decreases your anxiety because it increases your wellness and ability to relax.
11. Kissing helps reduce blood pressure.
If you’re looking for a way to reduce high blood pressure, why not try kissing? According to author Andrea Demirjian, kissing can increase your heart rate which then dilates your blood vessels.
Demirjian explained in “Kissing: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About One of Life’s Sweetest Pleasures,” that when that happens, you experience an increased blood flow which causes an immediate decrease in your blood pressure.
12. Kissing can help reduce cramps.
If you’re not comfortable having sex on your period but you like kissing, you should definitely kiss more, especially if you’re experiencing menstrual cramps. Kissing actually can help relieve you of your menstrual cramp pain as your dilated blood vessels and increased blood flow can help relieve pain.
13. Kissing is tied to improvements in cholesterol levels.
According to a 2009 study, couples who increased the number of times they were kissing, experienced an improvement in their total serum cholesterol. So in a way, kissing can actually lower your risk of several diseases, including heart disease and stroke, as you’ll have a lower cholesterol level.
14. Kissing can increase and tone your facial muscles.
According to American cardiologist Joseph S. Alpert, M.D., a simple kiss causes these two muscles in your face to create an exchange, but kissing for a longer period of time can work up to 24 facial muscles and 112 postural muscles.
Kissing not only helps firm your facial muscles but increases your collagen production, which can help you achieve firmer and younger-looking skin.
15. Kissing can help your allergic responses.
If you need relief from allergic responses from allergy season, make sure to just keep kissing. Kissing has actually proven to provide significant relief from allergic reactions like hives, and other reactions associated with pollen and household dust mites.
Melissa Noble is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to YourTango.
This article was originally posted in July 2017 and was updated with the latest information.